Amanda Roberts Interviews Ladi Li from Murder in the Forbidden City


Interview with Ladi Li from Murder in the Forbidden City


  • Where and when were you born?
    I was born in the Twenty-Second Year of the Daoguang Emperor, or 1842 by the Western calendar, in the home of my father in Peking.
  • What influence did your birth family have on you, your choices, your life? Explain why and how.
    I was born to an aristocratic and traditional Manchu family. My parents taught me the importance of propriety and that every choice you make effects not only yourself, but your family.
  • Tell us why you believe women really are/are not the weaker sex?
    We all have our roles to play. There are things I can do that a man can’t, and there are things do that men can’t. I do not believe one is superior or weaker to the other, but we each have our place and a purpose to serve.
  • If you could live in a different historical period, which would you choose and why does it appeal to you?
    I would probably go back to my people’s roots, living on the steppes of Northern China. It would be a hard life, living a wild existence, but we were stronger then. Sitting in the seat of power for so long has made us, soft. Weak. We can no longer rule with the iron fist we once did.
  • How do you decide if you can trust someone? Experience with others? with this person? First impressions? Intuition? Do you test the person somehow? Or are you just generally disposed to trust or not to trust?
    People have asked me how I can trust Inspector Gong, the man who helped solve my sister-in-law’s murder. It was not easy. But he was under order from the empress, and I trust my empress. She and I are quite close. I helped her secure the throne after the death of the emperor. Though I admit my trust in Inspector Gong goes beyond what was required. He is someone I would call upon if I was in need of aid. He showed that he trusted me first. He asked me to help him with the case without a second thought. We worked well together. I think our trust is mutual.
  • When you walk into a room, what do you expect people to notice about you?
    The amount of effort I put into my appearance says a great deal. The height of my pot-bottom shoes, the quality of my chaopao, the decorations of my batou. All of these things convey my feelings about you before I ever open my mouth. I expect you to be aware of the signals I am sending you before you make a fool of yourself.
  • Did you turn out the way you expected? The way your parents predicted?
    I certainly did not expect to be widowed after only five years of marriage. I think I manage rather well, given the circumstances. Society demands I remain a widow for the rest of my days, even though I am only twenty-five. I plan to uphold this standard.
  • What’s the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t? What would happen if you diddo it?
    I suppose I would like to remarry, but it is simply impossible. My reputation would be ruined. Even if I didn’t care about that, it would ruin the reputation of my entire family. May daughters would not be able to make good matches; they certainly would not be able to serve as ladies in the Forbidden City or be considered as royal consorts.
    It might seem unfair that I am forced to remain a widow for the rest of my life, but what is the alternative?
  • What are you most proud of about your life?
    The way I manage my household. Many women would not be able to survive without their husband to earn money or manage their affairs, but I have done well. I might occasionally entertain the idea of marriage again, but I certainly don’t need a husband.
  • What’s the most important thing in your life? What do you value most?
    My daughters and their future. There is no limit to how high they might climb in society. I believe that my first daughter could even be the next empress. I have to continue working toward that goal.
  • How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
    I’m very…satisfied. I am not unhappy. Working undercover with Inspector Gong gave a small shot of excitement to my life. I suppose it would be nice if he would call again…


amandaAbout the Author
Amanda Roberts is a writer and editor who has been living in China since 2010. Amanda has an MA in English from the University of Central Missouri. She has been published in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies around the world and she regularly contributes to numerous blogs.













On Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 10:41 PM, Pennell Linda <> wrote:
I have attached the guidelines. I will need your post no later than two weeks prior to the publication date. Welcome to History imagined and happy writing!
Smiles and good thoughts,